“Resurrection is a funny thing. You get real reflective.”
How many times now have you seen me say that? Statistically, most of you reading this are old fans who’ve come back, and close-ish friends who have heard me talk in person. So why do I talk like someone else is around? Well “there might be someone new.” Let’s say there have been a lot of new folks while I was away, and so I make sure to clue them in on things you’ve known for a while. But today…well today I’m going into for most of you new territory. We’ve talked about philosophy. And previously we talked about relationships and the concept of love. So let’s get into what you don’t know. Regret.
Regret is a good thing.
When Gordon gecko said “Greed is good, Greed works.” It touched off a culture realignment. Whether intentional or not, that moment came to typify the excess of the 80s. And in the era of recreational drug use we find ourselves in now, it may be odd to hear me say regrets are good. But I mean it. Regret often gets maligned because it seems like a negative method of looking back at life. Regret though, as I will come to explain, is in fact the best way to put perspective on the things not done in life.
Why? I know you’re asking. The things we regret are bad. They take away an understanding of the journey we made. Regret doesn’t make things better. Well you’re wrong. At least where it comes to the process I call resurrection is concerned. While I talk about my favorite hobby, I don’t talk about how the process works. There are quite a few steps and it is not a short thing. But I’ll give you the phases.
Phase 1, death of the previous self. During phase one I push myself deep into the dark nature of whatever has me in the process. To give you an example I feel confident discussing, when I failed the bar the first time, I went deep into just not being good enough to be a lawyer. That I would never pass and I should quit and disappear to somewhere to live like regular people. Number 1 on that list was actually to move overseas for a friend who was offering a job. I would have had to quit blogging and a number of other things but Phase 1 was simple, quit it all and go away. And as necessity goes, I gotta get deep in the thoughts of what that means first.
Phase 2, destroying the old focus. Staying with our bar example(Y’all really can’t handle anything under this surface), I go through the number of side projects, ideas, and long term planning I was working with and throw it all out. Everything and everyone gets dropped off a planet, and I slowly decide what and who I want to keep around. If it doesn’t make the cut, it gets set to the side. And while I may not address it until Phase 3 or later, this is where regret starts in.
And those of you keen enough to have paid attention to truly old stories, or who have been friends since I was very young, may wonder what exactly I have to regret. High School and earlier friend especially. The truth is trading consistency for experience has a very large cost, and I have paid it my whole life. Wanna go to Austrailia? Gotta miss out on the chance to spend the only time you and your closest cousin go to Jack and Jill Teen Convention. Wanna not work during college? Gotta go to K-State or somewhere close enough to be afforded. And those were early. They morphed into giving up the chance to do something in order to become something else.
I gave up getting the money to publish my own poetry over and over again, probably at a time I could have gotten a much larger number of readers to pay for therapy after a particularly bad bout of depression and a suicide attempt, go back to school, to go to law school, even to turn this blog from a free site on wordpress into what you’ve been reading since late 2013. Nothing was more important to me that writing those poems that most of you motivated me to write more of. And when it was share them with the world, or rebuild myself, I chose to resurrect because I wasn’t sure otherwise I’d be around to share them.
Someone I don’t have any dealings with anymore has long done the editing on all the one I wanted into Stories I told myself. The foreword, the chapter introductions, all of the work work, is long done. But the time is past. I don’t think more than 10 people even remember my poetry, much less would buy copies of a book. And I regret that. Not the most, just an example. A painful, lie awake at night example. And you know what is great about that? It makes me go back and read how wide the range of my mind is. It reminds me what could have been.
But that’s some professional vs creative conflict that I put on myself. I know you sadistic freaks are here reading for the only thing that has ever gotten me in any way masochistic. Amorous pursuits. AKA last week’s topic, love. There can be no progress without process. No revolution without evolution. But man this shit hurts. So let’s get to phase 3 and why I love and hate it. Warning, I ain’t using names, but if you know, you know.
Phase 3, birth of determination. When everything is stripped away I’m pretty simple. I know what I care about. I know what I don’t. And I have no future motivation. It is freedom. A dark, truly crazy freedom, but freedom none the less. I don’t feel responsible to anyone or for anything. I just exist. This takes months at times. Weeks at the shortest. Because the reality is this feels comfortable. Like a nice blanket on a cold day and you don’t have to be in to work for another 2 days comfortable. I like to punt a lot of things in this space. If it isn’t “keep me alive” level of necessity, then it gets done when I feel like it.
In this current state of resurrection, I’m nearing the end of this phase. Which is where things get up to an insane pace screaming out of the abyss like the void made me the new avatar of destruction. But now, here, I am also struck with the massive dose of regret. And why this piece is about to get way sappy and unfortunately, painful to type.
Editor’s note: I wrote all that you read before this note during the afternoon yesterday. before the announcement that I would be making a piece for today on social media. What comes next took me the rest of the day and this morning to work through and talk about. So no, I’m really not looking to “discuss” the past or the implications of said past.
I often describe a lot of this part of things as the point where I hate myself enough to get things done. I don’t actually hate myself, but this is a very simple way for me to describe things and get out of the conversation. But instead, it is more, I hate the past me’s I’ve killed to be recreated. Nothing is more embarrassing than looking back. Nothing hurts more. And nowhere is more dangerous for my analytical nature to focus itself on. You think I’m Ruthless with you people, y’all get off light by a ton by comparison.
Regret is sobering. So much so that I know where it is going to look at next before it does. First I’m going to hit the last time I tried to have a normal relationship, Law school. Second I’m going to hit the current women I think are interesting in an amorous fashion, I’ll call them…The Mind, The Whisper, and The Hurricane, for the purpose of this piece. Next, I’ll get into the last time I was the “Nice guy” version of myself. And if the resurrection is in some deep necessity I get back to the days of shy me when it comes to the strange face of love. There is no pain like remembering the one girl I was just too afraid to say a word to. Her name resonates in my brain when I think on her like Cyrano de bergerac calls out Roxane.
There is no pain like knowing you hadn’t evolved enough to take a chance. And hadn’t revolved enough to be ruthless about your own desires. So what then is regret in this time? Regret is the possible relationship? No. Regret is knowing the way I should have been. I could have been in those moments, but wasn’t. You want to know why regret is so important to the process, that is it right there. Regret ensures whatever it focused me on, is never a failing again.
This phase is the birth of determination for a reason. Because looking so deep into the void, it begins to look deep into me. And I refuse to be held down by it. I refuse to be lost to it. I let myself fall in love for the last time in 2011. I was hurt by love for the last time in 2011. And it took me until mid 2012 to realize that wasn’t for me. So when I came back from Europe I made sure to stay true to the revolution that made me Ruthless.
I failed the bar in 2013. I realized I could still make my dream happen in 2013. And after passing the bar I was determined to get everything else from my life in order so I was sworn in in 2014. I made that determination my all consuming focus. I was angry at me so I fought me until I made it right. That is what I do.
Without the regrets. Without the chances not taken turned into painful memories. Without the opportunities lost to other options not echoing in my brain I would be unable to make this process work. If the angel of a boy I was, never hurt, I wouldn’t be the Ruthless man I am. But if I didn’t regret having to become this me, I wouldn’t be motivated and determined to constantly make myself better.
If I had been confident in myself enough to talk to the girl I wrote so many lines about at 18 to 20, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be somewhere else entirely. Unable to fathom this existence. If I could have found the revolution of my soul that grew me from Maxus to THE Ruthless Wonder, when I was 24 and dying in a hospital, I could have been done with returning to school and going to law school far earlier. And I would have never been here. If I had worked out my body would be in a more appealing shape to women. If I had focused on writing I could do it for a living. If, if, if, if.
Because I can hate myself, I can see all the ifs. And the get so much bigger. But they play both sides. If I spoke to the hurricane she’d be too shocked to know that I have any amorous thoughts of her. If the whisper knew what was lurking beneath, after reading last week, there would be no chance of anything. The mind is like my mind, and “IF Only She Knew” yeah sometimes my brain’s regrets get full classic soul and R&B on me.
So I draw in the pain, the power, the anger, and the disappointment of the regrets. The things I could have been, the place I could be in, and the things I could have done. And then I turn them into power. Energy. a FORCE! So strong that it will take years before something makes another resurrection in the same area of life necessary. It will take something far beyond myself to cause another bout with re-evaluating. And determination finds a particular target. A specific goal. And I’m off again.
Regret is negative. It should be negative. To deny what it is, is to deny the effect it has. But the difference for most people is that they don’t turn regret into something. Because we are taught to not regret, to get rid of regrets, to not think on them at all, we lose the lesson of them. Last week I talked about how love is a chemical response in our brains to actions that we have been nurtured into being something it wasn’t supposed to be. That we can turn it off. And that I have learned how to varying success.
Regret is part of how I do that. Because regret is also a chemical response in our brains that we have been taught is never a good thing to have. We tell each other it isn’t. But when you look deeper. When you get passed the lens of society, and our corrupted humanity. When you get into what regret is, you learn what it can do. And for me, it becomes as powerful as sorrow. As potent a drug as pain. Zeus Campbell aka Top Rope Zeus is one of my favorite youtubers. He often says “Live your dreams, not your reality.” Well if I could have such a positive turn of phrase I’d say “All emotions are energy, make them positive.” Because regret is powerful. But you can control the direction of it. Just like you can all the rest of your emotional energy. I use mine to fuel my resurrections. So I can feel immortal. And maybe, just maybe, after reading this, you’ll be able to see how to do that for you. I could say so much more, and I may drop in a review of The Weeknd’s new EP, but for now, Words Don’t Do It Justice!